From Diagnosis to Discharge – Six Days Changed His Life

From Diagnosis to Discharge – Six Days Changed His Life

Rich Dorn is an active long-time resident of Brookfield, Wisconsin staying busy acting as a guidance counselor at Bruce Guadalupe Community and as a soccer coach for Cristo Rey Jesuit. At 70 years old, Dorn takes pride in the fact that he continues to regularly mow his own lawn without complications, which is why he didn’t think twice about the tightness in his chest. The third time it happened made him pause, so Dorn visited his doctor to complete some tests. A few days later, he received some shocking news; he had over 90% blockage in the arteries of his heart, putting him at incredible risk for a life-threatening heart attack at any moment.

The diagnosis was frightening, but Dorn felt comforted by Dr. Eric Weiss and his team at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.

“At that moment, you’re hoping for anything positive, and Dr. Weiss told me that they have a 99.9% success rate. I said you’re my guy,” Dorn recalls.

Dorn needed surgery as quickly as possible, so Dr. Weiss quickly rearranged his weekend to schedule Dorn for bypass surgery less than 48 hours after his diagnosis.

“Everything was happening quite rapidly. While it’s a serious thing, you’ve got highly competent people who are well trained and cutting edge on research and technology. I’m terribly grateful and fortunate,” Dorn reflects.

The procedure itself was typical with Dorn’s heart being stopped for less than 25 minutes while the team worked to reroute the blood flow around the blockages. While the surgery itself wasn’t anything new to Dr. Weiss and his team, they were astounded at Dorn’s incredibly quick recovery.

“Over time, the techniques for heart surgery have improved making surgery much quicker and much safer,” says Dr. Weiss. “What was interesting about this surgery was how quick Dorn recovered. He left the hospital on the third day after his surgery, which is very quick for a major operation like open heart surgery.”

While the type and components of surgery can play a factor in recovery, a patient’s attitude often determines how quickly they are discharged. Being willing to move early on, walking and persevering all helped Dorn go home from the hospital mere days after his initial diagnosis. Dorn continues to find a sense of purpose in being active. With the help of Dr. Weiss’ team, he made a swift recovery and returned to his favorite everyday activities.

If you are experiencing chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack like shortness of breath or pain radiating down your arm, call your doctor or go to the emergency department.

Click here to take a heart health assessment quiz

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About the Author

Margaret Weiner
Margaret Weiner

Margaret Weiner is a senior at Marquette University studying public relations, corporate communications and business administration with a concentration in communication leadership